For this month, February, we’ve selected wines from three countries: France, Italy, & Austria. The styles are broadly distributed, all with an emphasis, however, on freshness. As we begin the slow (slow!) march to spring, we figured we’d add a little bit of lift and brightness to the winter. First, we have the eminently delightful declassified Beaujolais from Clotaire Michel – his featherweight “l’expedition,” is juicy, slightly savory, and a perfect kind of apéro red. Next, is the Loïc Roure “La Fruit du Hasard,” a supremely flexible, bistro-y red from the Roussillon comprised of Carignan & Syrah that semi-carbonically-co-macerate. The final red to round out the share is heavier than these two; however, Natalino del Prete’s “Susumaniello,” in keeping with the theme, is indeed the lightest red he makes in southern Puglia. The local, rare grape ‘Susumaniello’ has long been known as the local’s red answer to the beating hot Mediterranean sun, typically making uncharacteristically light-medium bodied reds for easier imbibing than either Primitivo or Negroamaro. To start with the non-reds, there is Domaine de l’Oubilée’s refreshing “La Bruit des Glaçons” that is 100% Chenin vinified dry with an emphasis on mineral drive and a notable lack of density. As with the name of the cuvée, something to parch your thirst seems to be the name of the game here. Following, we have the most ‘serious’ of the whites in the form of Schrammel’s 6 year-old Grüner; even still, the wine lacks the kind of muscle that some Grüners and Rieslings in this corner of northern Austria have become known for – which is welcome. Perfectly taut, the age has allowed the wine to unfurl some more developed flavors without sacrificing the upright character of the wine. A complex, crisp Austrian gem. Rounding out the share are two wines, one another Austrian the other Italian: Josef Totter’s “Muscaris” from 2019 is a fascinating example of a Piwi,fungal-resistant grape variety treated with the TLC typically only reserved for the classic Vinifera grapes. Aromatic as the name might suggest, the wine is stunning and rare, distinct for its coltish movement on the palate in tandem with its redolent nose & Cantina Terracanta’s easygoing coastal skin-contact beauty ‘Vallecaia,’ that is similarly aromatic owing to its Malvasia-two-ways cépage.